Having found her stride in the studio on 1970s Candles in the Rain, Melanie's 1971 release The Good Book seemed like a case of two steps forward, one step back. The Good Book was recorded while Melanie was at loggerheads with her record label, Buddah Records (Melanie and her husband and studio collaborator Peter Schekeryk would form their own label to release her next LP), and while it doesn't seem to have impacted the craft of the album, the presence of three covers and the frequently dour mood of these songs don't seem to reflect an artist who was entirely at peace with herself. Melanie's cover of Dylan's "Sign on the Window" and her own title track both depict a woman tired of the music business (if not her art) and eager to tend cows and look after kids rather than deal with the trappings of stardom, and if her take on Phil Ochs' "Chords of Fame" and her own composition, "The Nickel Song," lack the agrarian influence of the former tunes, if anything they're even stronger variation on the same theme. However, it's worth noting there's no such thing as a Melanie album without a bit of emotional excess, and she speaks her heart and mind with clarity and gentle force on these numbers, while finding room for the hard-won wisdom of "The Saddest Thing" and Judy Collins' "My Father," and the playful proto-feminism of "Babe Rainbow." If The Good Book was a product of a troubled moment in Melanie's career, there's little arguing that she made the very best of a bad situation.